<p>Not a wine expert. DW by accident checked the box to subscribe the "wine spectator" megazine on one of those airline frequent flyer stuff, so we have it.</p>

<p>Interested to learn in the "Wine 2011 Review" article, the followings were picked as "smart buys" (not planned to spend $200 for the HIGHLY recommended category)</p>

<p>Among American wines:
Four Vines Zifandel $15 (can have had it for around $10 online and love Zinfandels) rating 90
Robert Oatley Chardonnay Mudgee $18, rating 90
Elk Cove Pinot Noir Williaette Valley $27, rating 91</p>

<p>Your thoughts?</p>

<p>recommend Op check past threads. There was an extensive thread only 2-3 wks ago on recommending wine as a gift.</p>

<p>^^I am not buying wine for a gift..just looking for opinions on those in the article./</p>

<p>My parents buy Elk Cove on occasion, and they're total oenophiles, so I guess that speaks to the quality. </p>

<p>I've had it, and it was a bit tannic for my taste (18 y.o wine critic lol), but it's not bad at all.</p>

<p>I've had the Four Vines zin and like it, especially at that $10 price. Zins and Riojas are my favorite wines. Not a big fan of pinot noir or chardonnay so I can't comment on those.</p>

<p>The only wines that get rated at all are wines from fairly big wineries, because otherwise they're completely sold out by the time the magazine gets published. I would suggest trying one or two of the wines rated by the magazine and see if you agree with their ratings. (I don't like Robert Parker's highest-rated red wines, for example. Too dry, too much tannin, etc.)</p>

<p>Remember, wine is simply grape juice sold for a greater profit, just as cheese is milk sold for a greater profit. You don't have to like it just because someone else does. Try stuff, see what you like. There are four or five tiny wineries in Oregon where I pay for a subscription--they send me two or three bottles at regular intervals--because I love their wines--but there are other wineries a few miles away from them where I don't like the wines. It's different winemaker, different choices, different taste.</p>

<p>I love Elk Cove Pinot. We visit the winery every time we go down to Oregon and pick something up from tasting room. They sell 1/2 bottles of some of their wines there, so I can enjoy it before the bottle goes off.</p>

<p>Wine Spectator is dangerous. I find that when I get it, my wine cellar gets too many new inhabitants :)</p>

<p>I don't like Robert Parker's whole approach to wine. He tends to like over-oaked high alcohol stuff. Unfortunately I rarely remember the stuff we actually drink. We went to a wine tasting last night and had an amazing selection of really obscure Spanish wines. What matters is what you like, so why not buy one bottle of each of those wines and see what YOU think? If you like the first two, they'd be great value. :)</p>

<p>I'm pretty impressed with the Zagat wine club. They keep having these promotions online where if you join, they'll send you 12 great wines for $69.99 (or $89.99). Then you get a shipment of great wines every 3 months. Can cancel at any time. You can even get a bunch of Delta airmiles for ordering. They are really good wines. I've been struggling to find wine that tastes good after returning from a trip to Italy this summer, and finally found some with this group. One of the best wines I've had is their Charles Smith 2009 Cabernet, bought a whole case of it, worked out to about $13-$14/per bottle. They don't charge tax for some states. But I gave most of them away!</p>

<p>We went to the Stellenbosch region of South Africa (near Cape Town) and have been trying different wines from there. My husband says they are terrific. They prices he likes is about $18 a bottle...another $30.</p>

<p>Part time wine worker here, more to support my buying habits than anything else. If you like Zins the four vines is good for a moderately priced Zin. I've never had the Pinot you mention. I like Willamette pinots in generally but I prefer Monterey. Monterey pinots tend to be a little smoky and have a little heavier mouth feel than Willamette. I am not familiar with the chard you mentioned. On their owni tend toward more stainless crisp chards, with food I lean toward a balanced and only slightly oaky wine.<br>
I have a lot of friends who are winemakers and many feel that Parker leans toward big higher alcool reds. I don't go by reviews much. Learn the descriptive words for the wines you like, find a good wine shop and get them to help you. better yet, travel to wine country, taste around and join the clubs of winemakers whose style you like. You will find some great product and support small business.</p>